While Pope Francis’ liberal views have made progress by bringing Catholicism into the modern age, the issue of women holding leadership positions has yet to be discussed. By excluding women from these roles, the Catholic Church is disregarding half of its members and choosing to stick to a sexist system that today’s society no longer supports.
Nuns are women who dedicate their lives to studying the message of God. When these women enter papal life, they enter into a marriage with God and make a vow to always do God’s work. Yet when they enter into this marriage, they are also vowing to live in poverty, chastity and obedience beneath men. These men have made the same vows and completed equally rigorous training––it is solely their gender that sets them above nuns.
The thought that nuns are considered beneath male priests who know just as much about theology and the Bible as they do is sickening. As a non-practicing Catholic, I am the first to admit that there are many problems with the Catholic Church, which have caused my resolve to diminish. The most deplorable of these problems, however, is the exclusion of women from leadership roles.
While there have been countless female saints and nuns throughout history who have used their faith to help people all over the world, the Catholic Church still refuses to let women take on leadership roles. Instead, women who give their lives to the Catholic Church are given three choices: become a teacher, a missionary or a care provider. Though the Church has seen diminished interest in consecrated life in recent years, today’s women account for a majority of consecrated life in the Church. Thus, it would behoove the Church to allow women to become religious leaders.
By excluding women from leadership, the Church is excluding the minds of millions of women all over the world. Some of the greatest theological speakers and community leaders could have lived and died without us ever hearing what they had to say simply because they were not allowed to speak.
Just as the Church has relaxed its views on issues like cohabitation before marriage, divorce and wearing wool and cotton together, women could be admitted into roles of leadership given the right push from the public.
Whoever says that a female priest would not be taken seriously or would attract fewer followers than a male priest should be ashamed. Women lead countries and companies just as men do, and to think that gender should be the basis for disqualification toward religious leadership roles is to admit insanity.
This issue is not one that will likely be discussed in the near future––the Church has always remained mum on the issue of women in leadership. Its only justification for this is a series of outdated Biblical rules.
In all its forms, religion is supposed to teach us that it is right to do well by your fellow humans. By not letting women take leadership roles in Catholicism—as so many other religions have allowed—the Catholic Church is not living up to this core principle.